Vietnam to officially launch COVID-19 vaccine passports this week

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Vietnam to officially launch COVID-19 vaccine passports this week

This image shows a digital COVID-19 vaccine passport sample issued by Vietnam’s Ministry of Health. Photo: Ministry of Health

The Ministry of Health expects to officially grant digital COVID-19 vaccination certificates, also known as ‘vaccine passports,’ across Vietnam this week after a smooth pilot at three hospitals in Hanoi, an official has said.

After a week of successful trial of issuing vaccine passports at three hospitals E, K, and Bach Mai, the ministry will perfect technical steps to begin granting such passports nationwide, said Nguyen Ba Hung, deputy director of the medical data center under the ministry’s department of information technology.

Following the trial period, the national vaccination system has now responded well to the issuance of vaccine passports, Hung told a workshop that discussed digital COVID-19 vaccination certification last week.

Everyone whose vaccination data has been included in the national vaccination management platform will be given a QR code displayed on Vietnam’s COVID-19 mobile application PC-COVID or ‘So suc khoe dien tu’ (electronic health book) app, the health ministry said.

In order to obtain a digital vaccine passport, people must declare accurate vaccination information that will be reviewed by immunization agencies and connected to the national database for authentication.

Vietnam’s vaccination record card will contain personal information and vaccination data encrypted into a QR code, which expires 12 months after being created.

In December, the ministry announced a decision on promulgating the template and procedures for issuing the certificates to make it more convenient for people to travel abroad.

Preparations for launching such vaccination record cards are underway in the context that Vietnam has fully reopened its borders since March 15, facilitating the recovery of international tourism after two years of closure due to COVID-19.

Vietnam has so far reached agreements on mutual recognition of vaccine passports with 17 countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported.

These countries include the U.S., the UK, Japan, Australia, Belarus, India, Cambodia, the Philippines, the Maldives, Palestine, Turkey, Egypt, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Singapore, Saint Lucia, and South Korea.

A vaccine passport is a COVID-19 vaccination record or/and a COVID-19 recovery certificate, which is used as proof of a person’s vaccination and recovery history and does not replace papers such as passports, visas, international travel documents, laissez-passers, temporary and permanent residence cards, and visa exemption certificates, the foreign affairs ministry said.

Over 202 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered across the country, and the information of 193 million shots of the total has been updated on the national vaccination management platform, a health ministry official told the workshop.

“The vaccination information of 76 million people has been recorded on the platform,” the official said, adding that the data of the remaining administered shots was being captured into the national database.

Currently, Vietnam is one of the six countries with the highest COVID-19 vaccine coverage in the world, with 100 percent, 99 percent, and 43.5 percent of its adult population having received their first, second, and third vaccine shots, respectively, the health ministry reported.

For children aged 12 to 17, the first and second jab coverage rates have correspondingly reached 99 and 94 percent.

Vietnam, with a population of 98 million people, has documented 9,314,514 COVID-19 infections, with 7,153,846 recoveries and 42,416 fatalities, since the pandemic erupted in the Southeast Asian country in early 2020, the ministry’s data shows.

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